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Is It Time For a Home Network Upgrade?

3 Ways To Spot Networking Problems

Is It Time For a Home Network Upgrade?

Almost every home is dependent on a robust network to operate normally. Internet access is required for many devices to work and to do day-to-day activities. If you’re browsing the web, connecting to your work email, checking on your Facebook feed, or watching a show on Netflix, all those things require reliable connectivity to work. When that connection doesn’t work correctly, your frustration mounts quickly.

Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out if your issues are network-related or if the software or hardware in your device is responsible. Occasionally a problem is just a temporary glitch or a slowdown in your Internet service. Sometimes you just need to restart the app, the browser, or a video to fix a problem.

Then again, if you are experiencing the performance issues we mentioned regularly, your network may be the common thread across them. How can you tell if your home network installation is the culprit? Let’s explore three ways you can narrow down the possibilities in your Paradise Valley home.

SEE ALSO: Master Your Home Theater System

The Slow Connection

Slow Internet connections wreak havoc in many ways. The problem is that if the connection works, but the response is slow, you might think it's something else and not the network. If your Netflix video looks grainy, freezes, stops, or stutters, what's going on? Is it the video, the Netflix service, your network, or your Internet service? A process of elimination can help.

One way to narrow things down is to try the same video on another device. If you have a device that's wired to the network and not wireless – like a desktop computer – compare the performance on that. Try a different video to be sure it's not that specific stream or the service itself like Netflix. Finally, try the tried-and-true method of powering the problematic device completely down and restarting it. Many devices renew their network connections when powered back on, and this often fixes a variety of connection ills.

If multiple devices – wired and wireless - are having issues, another good thing is to try to turn the power off to both your router and Internet modem. This solution resets both internal connections and your Internet link and sometimes fixes multiple problems. But if you have tried all these things and still have slow connections,--and confirmed with your Internet service provider that there are no issues with access – you may have a home networking problem.

One solution may be to upgrade your router. Today’s routers operate at different radio frequencies (for wireless connections) and have better range and speeds from those of just a few years ago. You may not think about how many networked devices you currently have, with items like smart TVs, speakers, security cameras and more all relying on network connections. Modern routers also have improved processors and software that can handle higher network speeds and more devices. Routers are just like computers, and they need an upgrade as everything else gets faster too.

 The Weak Wireless Signal

Is there a spot in your house that has a disappearing wireless signal? Your tablet connects, but if you move two feet, suddenly there's no signal.

Sometimes a router upgrade can fix these problems, with their increased range and speeds. Often, however, routers are located in suboptimal locations for wireless performance because of central wiring connections. Many recent homes are prewired for networking which is a great thing.

Unfortunately, the central wiring location may be at a lower level or on one end of the house and may not be the best for the router to reach everywhere with a strong wireless signal. In these cases, strategically located wireless access points can expand the wireless signal range, or a mesh network system can be used which daisy-chains wireless access across your property.

The 4K Streaming Dilemma

Excited over the availability of the high-resolution 4K shows and movies on Amazon Video, Netflix, and Vudu, you finally upgraded your media room and all your old TVs to smart new 4K models.

Unfortunately, when two or three members in the family decided to watch that fantastic new content in its best quality, it doesn't look like high-resolution video, and the videos sometimes stutter and buffer. Because 4K video requires three or four times the bandwidth of regular high-definition content, and some of the new audio formats are also more data-dense, 4K TVs can put a much higher load on the network.

You may need to upgrade the router for faster wireless speeds and more processing power to keep up, and you may also need a faster Internet connection, especially if you plan on viewing multiple 4K shows at the same time.

If network woes have you frustrated, we can help get your home network installation back up to speed. Contact us today, or just click below to quickly connect with one of our networking experts.